Showing posts with label Exodus International. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exodus International. Show all posts

Friday, April 10, 2015

Response to Alan Chamber's statement on Obama's ban

The latest statement by former Exodus President, Alan Chambers supporting President Obama’s efforts to limit the options for Christian youth reflects his long held willful ignorance of the subject.

The full text of Alan Chambers statement is available here on his website: http://alanchambers.org/alan-chambers-president-obama-is-right-to-try-to-end-ex-gay-therapy-rns-commentary/

Here is one of Alan's paragraphs which I find disturbing:
 “For too long, same-sex attraction has been categorized as sinful and in need of repairing. Such stigma has caused LGBTQ people crippling shame and fear. As a child I experienced and as an adult I perpetuated that stigma. I profoundly regret my support for and promotion of reparative therapy.”
I can sort of understand where Alan is coming from, but it is important that he and others understand that what they experienced and promoted at Exodus was never part of Reparative Therapy.

It is unfortunate that there are now thousands of people who went to Exodus groups and small church programs led by individuals  who were uninformed about the origins of Same-Sex Attraction and/or who refused to talk to real Reparative Therapists.

There really are people who experienced "exorcisms" or "deliverances" and then  went away believing that they had experienced  "reparative therapy.’  There are also many who would swear that they experienced it through Exodus simply because they heard the term mentioned briefly in a speech during a conference. 

There are others who were told by pastors that they just needed to have faith and marry a woman and somehow  that would cause all Same-Sex Attraction to go away. In many of these cases, they simply experienced more wounding and shame as well as a false promise that their Same-Sex Attraction would be miraculously 100% reversed overnight. All of these are the polar opposite of Reparative Therapy.

The efforts to ban Reparative Therapy are aimed at punishing those who disagree with the new mainstream beliefs that that anyone with the slightest Same-Sex Attraction must have been born TO BE "gay" and must be forced to embrace and celebrate that as their sole identity as early in life as possible. 

Since there is not a separate modality of therapy for them to ban, they want to ban any discussion that indicates the individual might have any options to control their sexual behavior or reduce their same-sex attractions.

Unlike Alan Chambers, I and many of my friends have actually experienced real Reparative Therapy from qualified, licensed therapists who were trained by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the founder of “Reparative Therapy.”  The primary focus of Reparative Therapy is the elimination of shame. It is the polar opposite of everything Alan Chambers has  described.

None of the "Former Ex-Gay Leaders" ever actually experienced Reparative Therapy. Alan had the opportunity to work with Dr. Nicolosi for FREE but he refused (unfortunately for him and everyone else at Exodus).

I personally know hundreds who have benefited from Reparative Therapy. It has worked for everyone who has fully tried it. When I say "worked" though, I don't mean "cured" but rather that it has brought healing and restoration - improving overall quality of life. As a byproduct, Same-Sex Attraction usually decreases, but it may not go away entirely for everyone. That is not the only goal.

To summarize, here are eight key points that Alan may want to consider:

  1. Licensed Therapists have always been forbidden from attempting to "change" anyone against their will. That would be a violation of basic ethics.
  2. No one has ever committed suicide due to Reparative Therapy. The individuals who have committed suicide would likely be alive today IF only they'd had access to real healing and unconditional love - which are the aim of Reparative Therapy.
     
  3. No one has ever been “forced” to undergo Reparative Therapy. By definition, that is not possible. The therapy itself teaches self-respect and empowers individuals to stand up for themselves. You cannot “force” someone to be empowered and stand up for themselves against their will.
  4. Many people may have been forced into going to Exodus groups or talking to the church leaders and there are all kinds of those, but none of that has ever had anything to do with Reparative Therapy.
     
  5. Reparative Therapy is not a separate modality of therapy. It uses all of the same therapy modalities of other therapists. The difference is respect for the client’s faith and identity. Reparative Therapists believe that there is more to an individual human human being than a reductionist reference to their attractions.
     
  6. "Reparative Therapy" got its name from the premise put forth by Dr. Nicolosi that the compulsion for homosexual behavior is often a "reparative drive" - and that if we address the underlying Shame and emotional wounds, this drive will be LESS compulsive and healing can take place. It does NOT mean "repairing" a homosexual person because they are 'broken.'
     
  7. “Reparative Therapy  has brought healing and restoration - improving overall quality of life to everyone who has sincerely tried it. As a byproduct of this healing, Same-Sex Attraction usually decreases, but it is never expected or promised that it will go away entirely for everyone.
     
  8. None of the public critics who claim to have been “harmed” or "shamed" by “Reparative Therapy” have never actually worked with a real Reparative Therapist. This includes Alan Chambers and the outspoken "former Ex-Gay leaders".

Pax Christi,
Jeremy Schwab
Jeremy@Joel225.org


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fighting against Self-Righteous Fundamentalism and Bigotry

Yesterday, I received an email from an old friend who was really upset by my efforts with Joel 2:25 International and Reparative Therapy. His email includes the misunderstandings I hear most often from those critical of my journey and my ministry work. I hear their anger. I also believe though that they are transferring the anger they have toward self-righteous fundamentalists who have said and done hurtful things in the past. 

It appears that they also assume that I am saying and supporting that same bigotry. I am NOT. If there is one thing I wish they would understand, it is that we really are on the same side in the fight against Self-Righteous Fundamentalism and Shame.

I have provided his original email along with my responses below:
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Dear Jeremy:

I just read the article in Towleroad where you are promoting David Pickup, your mentor's reparative therapy billboard that just went up in Dallas.  Given our past conversations, I have held my tongue because I felt like I was addressing a brick wall, but I really can no longer be silent. http://www.towleroad.com/2015/01/billboards-promoting-reparative-therapy-planned-in-dallas.html?onswipe_redirect=no&oswrr=1 I've also read on your Facebook recently where you were touting your Russian launch of Joel 2:25 (your reparative therapy organization).   Given the hatred the Russian president and government has put into law in Russia and the torture that we've seen gays endure in those horrific videos there, I now find your organization even more disgusting.  

If you were to ask anyone in our Russian group, they would tell you that Joel 2:25 has been a source of support and encouragement for them. Everything we do is about improving self-esteem and self-worth and reducing or eliminating shame. We fight hard against bigotry, intolerance, and violence and we have been able to help a few men and women escape from family situations that were as you described.

An investigative reporter who initially had the same view interviewed several of our guys from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She originally thought she would prove that we were causing "harm." After she interviewed them though, she contacted me and said she had changed her mind. Everyone she talked to said that Joel 2:25 was one of the best things that had ever happened to them. She is still critical of our views, but when she published her article, she was fair in sharing what these men had actually said about their experiences in Joel 2:25: LINK: Gay Men in Homophobic Countries Turn to Controversial U.S. Groups for Help 

I gave an hour long television interview which was broadcast via satelite to Iran. My entire focus was on helping the viewers understand that Same-Sex Attraction was NOT a choice and that it was no one's "fault." I also got a few minutes at the end to speak directly to anyone watching who was experiencing SSA themselves. Here is what I said in those last few minutes: VIDEO LINK: Message to Iranians with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) - Farsi

I, along with others in the gay community, the community you were once a part of and have now rejected, will continue to fight your dangerous organization along with the others like Northstar that you so proudly congratulate on your Facebbook page, along with your praise of the cast of "My Husband Is NOT Gay."  Your words:  "I'm thankful for the courage and bravery of my friends Curtis & Tera, Prett & Megan, Ty, Jeff & Tanya and others from NorthStar and Joel 2:25 who have been willing to share their testimonies with many of us for several years and now in a very public way."  I  too watched the show and I find those GAY men, like YOU, who are trying to suppress and live a life that is UNNATURAL to the way they were created by God just sad and pathetic, full of frustration and yes, self loathing.  I find their wives even sadder, non-trusting and frustrated in a sham of a marriage!  (they and you should read this article -- how unsuccessful gay Mormon men and straight women are with marriage -- 70% end in divorce compared to 25% straight Mormans.

Religion has damaged so many of us, but thankfully, many of us have used the minds and intelligence we were given to learn that we are perfect just as we were created.  I've said it before to you -- you question the creation -- YOU --  you are questioning the Creator - GOD.

I'm sure you read the suicide note of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen who took her life recently.  Her note stated that her parents had put her into Christian therapy where she was told that she was WRONG.   They tried to repair someone who WAS NOT BROKEN, just as you were not broken before you immersed yourself in reparative therapy.  (her letter is below if you haven't read it)

I read Joshua Alcorn's post and am as devastated by his suicide as you are. It is a horrific tragedy. I cannot imagine the pain that he must have gone through which led to his Gender Identity Disorder and then to his suicide. This young man needed unconditional love - not to have his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16. There was nothing wrong with him or his male body. It is a tragedy that the "transgender" propaganda convinced him that the only way he could be happy would be change who he is.

I do not know what kind of church his family went to or what kind of counselor they talked to. I do know that IF he had gone for real Reparative Therapy it would have helped him to heal and accept himself as a man. I have three friends in Joel 2:25 who are Ex-"Transgendered." They would also encourage anyone in Joshua's position to seek out healing. I do not know what other emotional wounds he had though so I do not know whether that would have prevented this suicide. This kind of tragedy goes much deeper than politics.

Just this week, Randy Thomas, a former "ex-gay" poster boy and VP of the now defunct Exodus International (the organization that you were once a part of that you once highly praised to me) came out as gay BECAUSE a gay Christian friend of his committed suicide.   "His death shook me to my core and made all the questions I had been asking were even more stark, consequential and pressing."

I've known Randy for several years. He's never really been an "ex-gay poster boy."  He never went for Reparative Therapy nor attempted to address any of the underlying issues he had. During his time at Exodus, he was proud to be a "celibate gay christian" and fought against everything anyone tried to do to bring real healing and address the real issues (rather than "pray away" or "white knuckling"). His recent "coming out" is not a change. He never left the "gay" identity in the first place. That is his choice and I respect his right to make his own decisions, but he and Alan Chambers have never been spokespersons for the rest of us. 

You once were very troubled and asked why I once told you that  "Blood is on your hands, Jeremy".  Well, these are just two examples.  There are thousands more and if you can't see that, Jeremy, you simply aren't looking and DO NOT WANT TO know the truth and the danger of your mission.

I am strongly against you and Joel 2:25 and other reparative therapy organizations because THEY ARE KILLING PEOPLE, making people feel less than, perpetuating self-loathing.   So, I will increase my fight to counter and fight you by showing those with religious damage and family rejection that they are PERFECT, just as they were created.   I will fight you and these organizations, especially on behalf of gay and transgender teens like Leelah, who have no choice when their parents force them into reparative therapy which kills the spirit of a young person, defeats them where suicide many times feels like their only option!  

I can understand your anger toward fundamentalists who have judged and shamed people like us. I am angry at them too. I fight alongside you against that bigotry. I am saddened that my work and that of RT has been in any way associated with that in many people's minds. Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame. 

You have fought and continue to fight to keep laws from passing that prevent reparative therapy for children, those under 18.  I will continue to fight UNTIL more laws are passed (like in CA and NJ). I will fight you until Joel 2:25, Northstar and David Pickup and your rhetoric are extinct, just like Exodus International and Evergreen have gone belly-up!   You have proudly authored the endorsement of reparative therapy in the Texas Republican platform.  Well, I will say it again and yes, I know my words are strong and harsh - but they are true -- BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS!l   

Do you not find it ironic that you argued above that Joshua Alcorn should have had his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16 to CHANGE his entire gender and yet you want to ban counseling for anyone that age who wants to change their sexual behavior? Which is more invasive and likely to cause lifelong harm?  Why not encourage young men like Joshua to accept themselves as they were BORN instead of forcing 16 year olds who do not want the gay life to embrace your "gay" label?

 I find you and these organizations extremely dangerous, appalling and disgusting -- not unlike the 9-ex-leaders of Gay Conversion Therapy who recently apologized to the LGBT community. (http://time.com/3065495/9-ex-leaders-of-the-gay-conversion-therapy-movement-apologize/)

Just like Randy, these 9 self-proclaimed "leaders" never went for Reparative Therapy. None of what they describe has anything to do with what we promote. They fought against the idea of emotional healing from the beginning. They went from being fundamentalist "pray it away" to the opposite extreme. Neither of which is healthy. They have nothing to say on the topic because they have participated in or experienced any of what they now claim to be experts on.

The billboard you've endorsed reads:  Reparative Therapy.  Real Therapy.  Really Works.  Given our conversation about how you still have SAME SEX ATTRACTION (which are three words for one -- GAY) -- you're own life proves it does not!   In other words, to quote my character 'Brother Boy' (a character you've quoted to me) -- IT AIN'T A WORKIN'! " 

Yes, I have seen a massive decrease in my SSA, but that's not really the main focus of Reparative Therapy. The focus is on removing shame and healing emotional wounds. It is not expected to be a "cure" becuase the SSA is not a disease. It is a normal need that must be met in healthy ways. The therapy has helped me (and everyone I know who has ever actually tried it) to find peace, self-acceptance, and healing. 

So, yes, I'm angry and fed up with you and your cohorts -- and you have a fight, and a very public one on your hands, as you will hear on The Del & Emerson Show today (if you choose to listen) as long as you keep spouting that  which disputes those authorities who I promise use their brains (American Medical Association,  American Psychological Association and most leading professional medical and social science organizations) instead of holding on to an archaic book that promotes slavery, stoning adulterers and rebellious children AND equates eating shellfish as the same abomination as men lying with me.  

The AMA and others have all copied from the one general statement issued by the APA Council on LGBT which consisted of 7 therapists. 6 of these 7 are openly gay (a strong bias) and none of these 7 ever practiced SOCE (Reparative Therapy) nor spoke to anyone who had.

They re-stated the general "warning" given for ALL therapies but said on page 87 of their report that they had not found any specific evidence of anyone being harmed by Reparative Therapy itself.  Even if I took their biased political stunt as authoritative, it provides no indication that RT has ever actually harmed anyone.

Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame. Those are all good things regardless of what choices a person makes in the future.

I acutally heard from a lady last night who has been in our Joel 2:25 women's group for the past year who said finding our group saved her life. I have heard from many guys in our other groups that every aspect of their lives have improved from being a part of this community. I hear this feedback all the time from all over the world.

Pax Christi,
          Jeremy Schwab  
          Jeremy@Joel225.org  
http://www.Joel225.org 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

To Change or Not to Change. Is that REALLY the question?

For those of us with Same-Sex Attraction who have chosen NOT to embrace a "Gay" identity or pursue gay "relationships" there often appears to be a great divide. This was going on long before the closing of Exodus and Alan Chamber's apologies last summer. It has also long been a source of contention with the Courage Apostolate, the Catholic equivalent and to a certain extent with JONAH, the Jewish version, StraightWay, the Muslim ministry, and Evergreen (LDS).

There are many of us who have strong convictions and emotions regarding one or the other "side." There are many others who would be somewhere in between these extremes and/or have not formed an opinion. I saw a blog post recently that referred to them as "Side A" and "Side B." 

I have found myself at different times on both sides and there have been times when I have felt strong emotions (Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Joy) at the mere mention of one or the other. I have also received strongly worded emails (10+ pages) from people who very upset with me for mentioning one or the other. 

I doubt I will be able to adequately address the "arguments" in one blog post, but I'd like to examine the underlying emotional charges. I'll try my best to do this objectively, but if you see any biases or errors in my analysis, please let me know. ;)

Past Wounds and Shame from Others
While society's overall attitudes toward Homosexuality and people who experience Same-Sex Attraction has changed rapidly over the last ten years, most of us have at one point in our lives still experienced significant external pressure to "change" and to become "100% heterosexual." This is especially the case for most of us who grew up in Conservative Christian homes where homosexual inclinations themselves (not just immoral homosexual acts) were seen by many churches as "evidence of a reprobate mind." 

I had this experience when I was 14 years old. I had already been struggling with my gay thoughts and feelings for over two years and praying incessantly that God would "change me" when I came home one day to discover that my parents had found and read my journal. 

The next few months were hell on earth for me. My parent's view of the development of SSA (fed by the rhetoric of the preachers they listened to, like John Hagee) was that FIRST, a person sells their soul to the devil and THEN, they eventually develop SSA (Same-Sex Attraction). They could not reconcile how a Christian who REALLY believed could experience any SSA. It was beyond their comprehension at the time. 

Since I KNEW that I had already been pouring my heart out to God and pleading with him for the previous TWO years to cure me of homosexuality, I found especially hurtful that they believed the reason I had SSA was that I obviously didn't really mean it when I had been baptized and professed Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. 

For our family, some relief came when my parents finally talked to a real therapist who was training in Reparative Therapy. It was only then that they began to realize that my Same-Sex Attraction might have some other causes other than just ME being EVIL. 

By that point though, it was too little, too late. I had completely shut down emotionally and was unable and unwillingly to even attempt to discuss the issue with them or anyone else. I managed to convince them that it had all just been "a phase" and we all agreed to not bring up the topic again. It would 19 years before I mentioned the subject to them again.

When I was in my early twenties, I often tried to join "Gay Churches" but always soon realized they had truncated the Gospel significantly in order to make it fit their desires. This grew tiring and I would always try to find my way back to a REAL church. 

The conservative Christian Churches I tried, were usually a little more tolerant than my parents had been, but they also still couldn't seem to understand how my SSA (and by that point Sexual Addiction) had not been completely CURED by my answering the altar call. When I tried to be authentic and explain where I was STILL struggling, it often caught them by surprise and they seem to insist that the answer was more prayer ("and this time REALLY mean it."). 

My own experience is very different from many of my friends who were part of Exodus and/or other Ex-Gay Ministries. Most of them never embraced the Gay identity and many of them never acted out on their homosexual inclinations. They experienced positive nurturing support and love from Church-led ministries which at least understood that they did not CHOOSE to have Same-Sex Attraction and that they were not "EVIL" or "Reprobate" for having experienced SSA.  I probably would have had this experience myself IF I had talked with an actual Ex-Gay ministry instead of trying to find understanding and support from Christians who had never experienced Same-Sex Attraction. 

I believe the attitudes of most Christians have changed over the years, but there are still many who would not really understand how SSA is different from Opposite-Sex Attraction (OSA) and  cannot be controlled or channeled in the same ways. It is VERY different from the OSA struggles described in the book Every Man's Battle (a book that I would now recommend for OSA friends, but discourage my SSA friends from reading). 

For a long time, my own gut reaction to any Church-led or faith-focused ministry addressing SSA was that they were saying what my parents had said that I "Chose to be this way" and/or that I would be 100% straight IF ONLY I had really meant it when I prayed. I realize in retrospect that most faith-based programs are NOT saying this and most of them never have said anything of the sort. 

Reactions to "Reorientation Therapy," "Reparative Therapy" or "Sexual Orientation Change Efforts": I have often received visceral emotional reactions from my Christian SSA friends whenever I have mentioned anything regarding "Orientation Change" or even emotional healing programs like "Journey into Manhood"In almost all cases, the individuals with the biggest emotional charges have NEVER actually experienced any form of Reparative Therapy. The reactions vary slightly, but the biggest emotional charge tends to be regarding the expectation of "change." It seems likely that their reactions are based on the same emotional wounding that I received (although from a different perspective). One friend of mine said it best in this sentence: "How dare you suggest that I need therapy?!"  - In essence, most of them feel that the mention of Reparative Therapy or any form of Psychological assistance for reducing Same-Sex Attraction is implying that they are Mentally Ill.

They seem to think that the purpose of "Reparative Therapy" or other emotional healing and "change programs" are to FIX THEM or make them 100% straight. While there are some people who have experienced this complete change through therapy and/or prayer, it is usually not the case that we experience 100% change instantaneously. 

This is the case for every other area of life as well. Many times a drug addict will answer an Altar Call at a church and surrender their lives to Christ. This is where the healing BEGINS, but it is not necessarily where it ENDS. As Christ works in their heart and transformation begins to take place, they may also be able to benefit from Rehab or working through a 12-step program. That does not diminish Christ's healing power. He could choose to instantly heal them if he wanted to, but often he has benefits for us and lessens to teach us through our obedience and gradual healing process. 

With regard to Reparative Therapy and Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) there is a lot of debate about whether it really "works." Almost everyone thinks though that for it to "work" it must be an instantaneously 100% change. That is a ridiculous and impossible standard to judge anything. For me, I can say that I have benefited TREMENDOUSLY from Reparative Therapy and everyone I know who has actually tried it would say the same. Even those I know who gave up and went back into gay relationships, say it was "helpful and positive experience." 

The Pro-Gay groups often try to argue that Reparative Therapy and other forms of Reorientation are "harmful" because they do not produce 100% change instantaneously. If you look closely at any of their claims, ALL of them are based on the idea that people will be "disappointed" and therefore "depressed" if they continue to experience some aspects of homosexual inclinations. They conclude that it is therefore better to encourage someone to embrace a "Gay" identity and avoid getting real help. That is such a ridiculous thing to say. If we used the same logic, we would say that Insulin should be banned and Diabetes is "Healthy and Natural." - After all, Insulin has not been proven to permanently CURE diabetes with one shot - therefore it MUST be "harmful."

My Same-Sex Attraction has been significantly reduced over a short period of time. It is now no longer a major struggle in my life. I am grateful for that. I have studied every aspect of Reparative Therapy and there is no possible way that any aspect of it could ever be "harmful." Nonetheless, it is a human scientific endeavor and does not rise to the level of Infallibility that the Christian faith relies on. The Christian Faith and in fact all monotheistic religions have always acknoweledged that homosexual "relationships" are harmful to the emotional well being and spiritual lives of everyone involved. This truth is independent of the effectiveness of any particular human effort to reduce or "change" homosexuality. Diabetes was harmful to the human body even before Insulin was discovered as a treatment in 1921. 

It is possible that Reparative Therapy could be replaced eventually with other therapies even more effective, just as Insulin might eventually be replaced by something else. These are tools that God has enabled us to use to enhance our lives, but they are not the focal point of the Christian life. We do not have to choose one "side" or the other. We simply need to focus on Christ, follow his will, and be open to the gifts he sends our way (which for ME, happened to include Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Reparative Therapy, Joel 2:25, and Journey into Manhood), but most importantly prayer, the sacraments, and spiritual healing through Christ. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy


Friday, October 4, 2013

Don's Journey into Manhood

Today I'd like to share my friend Don's story. His journey was a little different from mine in that he was married with a family before he began this journey. He is an awesome man of God and now leads one our Small Groups in Joel 2:25 (http://www.Joel225.com )

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In late 2006 I had grown utterly disillusioned with my life.  I had been fighting my same sex attraction through adolescence and my college years and for 25 years of marriage.  I was losing the fight.  I had a deep faith but I had concluded that the Love of God was somehow not meant for me.  I had prayed unceasingly for 40 years for release from this burden without any impact.  The worst part was the loneliness.  I lacked the kind of male friendships that I longed for and found straight men to be so unemotional and disconnected that they seemed incapable of real intimacy.  My wife was emotionally distant and hurt from my general lack of pursuit of her heart and I was facing the prospect of living the rest of my life in emotional isolation.  I could not stand it anymore. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trust, Open, Surrender?

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11
Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. - Luke 12:7 and Matthew 10:30
I know that we have all read opinions and political statements on Homosexuality and for almost every other issue of morality as well. For an individual Christian who experiences Same-Sex Attraction, the flood of arguments and opinions are daunting.  

I was raised Baptist, but started going to a "Gay Church" when I was in High School and off and on in my 20's. I wanted to believe what they taught about homosexuality, but knew that there were many who would disagree. 

I worried that if the traditional christian teaching was correct, than I had a challenge ahead of me. I had not yet been able to simply "Pray away the Gay" and I wasn't so sure that anyone else had either. 

I started to realized though that IF the "gay church" was correct, than that only meant that God didn't have a plan for my life at all. They provided arguments that the scriptural references regarding homosexuality were not concrete or relevant to modern understanding, but there was no evidence that this was some new kind of Vocation or that my life would have any positive meaning or purpose due to these new loopholes. (I'll write a separate post about those arguments and discuss each "side" another time)


For a while, I thought I could be truly "objective" and analyze each side's arguments from a purely academic perspective. I realized quickly though that it would take decades of rigorous study in Psychology, Theology, Hebrew, and Greek before I would even be able to make an educated guess about which "side" was right. (I'll wait to comment on Sola Scriptura another time)

There were times I aligned myself with each "side" and was welcomed warmly and joyfully. I have no doubt that everyone who is passionate about this issue (even those I disagree with) have positive intentions. I have also faced disappointment with individuals and organizations on both "sides."  No human being who has a perfect answer to make everything easy and simple. There are three very important questions though that we all choose to answer not just with Same-Sex Attraction, but with everything else in our lives:

  1. Do I TRUST that God has a detailed plan and purpose for my life?
  2. Am I OPEN to hearing what that is, even if it's not what I currently want it be?
  3. Am I willing to SURRENDER my own will, identity, and plans to accept His will for me?
Conscious or not, we choose to answer these every single day. For most of my life, I answered "NO!" Nowadays, I choose to answer "Yes" more frequently, but I still have a ways to go. These are very tough questions. If you think these are easy, then read them again.  

If however, you might be willing to answer "Yes" to all three (even for just one day), please pray with me right now:
Jesus,
I surrender to you today with all my heart and soul. Please come into my heart in a deeper way. I say, “Yes” to you today. I open all the secret places of my heart to you and say, “Come on in.” Jesus, you are the Lord of my whole life. I believe in you and receive you as my Lord and Savior. I hold nothing back.
Holy Spirit, bring me to a deeper conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. I surrender all to you: my will, my plans for the future, my relationships, my work, successes and failures. I release it and let it go because I trust that YOU have plans for me - plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.
I surrender my understanding of how things ‘ought’ to be, my choices and my will. I surrender to you the promises I have kept and the promises I have failed to keep. I surrender my weaknesses and strengths to you. I surrender my emotions, my fears, my insecurities, my sexuality. I especially surrender _________ (Here mention other areas of surrender as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you.) Lord, I surrender my whole life to you, the past, the present, and the future. In sickness and in health, in life and in death, I belong to you.
Amen
As you know from the rest of my blog, I prayed this prayer after having lived in gay relationships for several years. At the time, I thought that all I wanted was for God to restore my relationship with Tim, my live-in partner who had left. It was very difficult for me to let go and trust God with the outcome of All three questions. I was most afraid that it might lead me... well... to exactly the path I am on today. The path hasn't been easy, but it has brought real happiness and fulfillment to my life. I have been happier the last three years than ever before in my life and it's gets even better every day. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy
http://www.Joel225.org
Jeremy@Joel225.org

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Equally Confusing



I had to apologize to a few of my close friends earlier for losing my temper and making some uncharitable comments in response to their decisions to post the HRC's logo this week on their Facebook profiles in support of redefining Marriage

I explained that my disapproval was NOT about politics. I DO respect their variety of political views and of course the rights of everyone to express those views however they choose.

 
My own calling and mission the last two years has included affirming and encouraging healing for wounded men and women and leading them to the Lord (regardless of orientation). I host four ongoing groups of men in my living room. One of the groups is not related to homosexuality and the other three are for guys in different stages of recovery from homosexuality. I spend an hour or two every night on the phone with guys from all over and about 5 or 6 hours every Sunday. I get really tired sometimes of having to talk about that subject. It has been WORTH it though to be able to play a small part in seeing others heal.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Question on Salvation

I received this question through an Anonymous comment to my post: "What Does Ex-Gay or Change Mean to Me" 
"What do you think about Alan Chambers saying Reparative Therapy doesn't work, that 99.9% of 'ex-gays' still have SSA, and that gays can go to heaven just by believing in Jesus?"
I responded to the first part here in my last post: "Alan's Statement on Reparative Therapy" 
I'd like to begin responding to the second part of the question. I believe Alan's comments are a bit out of context here. BEFORE I get to his comment, I'd like to ask you to join me in examining the beauty and magnificence of God's infinite Love.
 
WHO is God and What do we know about Him.  
It is clear that he desires to be known by us and to have an intimate relationship with us. Some of this is evident just by natural reason along. God has left his fingerprints all over everything.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Q&A on Alan's Statement about Reparative Therapy

I received this question from an Anonymous comment to my last post: "What Does Ex-Gay or Change Mean to Me":  
"What do you think about Alan Chambers saying Reparative Therapy doesn't work, that 99.9% of 'ex-gays' still have SSA, and that gays can go to heaven just by believing in Jesus?"
I appreciate your questions. I have corresponded with Alan via email about his statements a few times.  For brevity’s sake, I will respond to the first question here and the second question in a second post (See Part 2: Question on Salvation). First I’d like to start out with the areas where I agree with Alan. My faith in Christ and my moral convictions are independent of whether or not my SSA (Same-Sex Attraction) is ever “cured.”

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Prayer Request: Sharing my Testimony

"Do not refrain from speaking at the crucial time, and do not hide your wisdom." - Sirach 4:23 

"They have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony" - Revelation 12:11

I have a quick prayer request. I will be recording a short video about the healing that has occurred in my life over the last three years since I left the gay lifestyle.  The video will be part of the Voices of Change website which is run by my friends at P.A.T.H. (Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality).


For me, this is about reaching Souls and proclaiming the Truth. It goes way beyond current politics (the principalities of this present darkness). I've been fasting and praying that I can speak to hearts with Love and grace. I just finished praying a Rosary and will start recording in a few minutes.

I have only recorded one other webcam video: http://youtu.be/w1_pBLuBEgw This one was part of a TV interview (via Skype) with a TV station on the East Coast. I had to get up at 5:00am and clean my room before they called me on Skype at 6:00am. (If I'd overslept, that'd been really embarrassing - LOL) ;)

Anyway, this time I can prepare more and tailor my own message. I wrote out some of my own story in these two posts: "Surrendering to Christ at Disney's Gay Pride" and "Reply to my old gay bible study group." I don't want it to be just MY message though. This is God's story. I want to be open to let the Holy Spirit say what he wants to say.

Btw, my friend Blake has made several really awesome videos. If you haven't already watched his, check them out here:  http://myexgayjourney.blogspot.com/2013/01/real-love-vs-gay-feelings.html

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

P.S.: One other prayer request. I got asked to speak to over 100 High School students in Confirmation at a parish on February 17th. I've never given a talk in public about this issue and certainly not to High School students. I can use some prayers about what to say and how to convey the Truth with Faith, Hope, and Love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Real LOVE

In this video, my friend Blake shares some powerful insights as he explains why he chose Christ and decided to leave behind gay relationships.  

Check out his other videos which are also really powerful:
LOVE  

Pax Christi,
Jeremy
P.S.: I shared some of my own similar experiences in my post titled: "Response to my old 'gay bible study' group" - September 2010

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three of my old Gay friends are choosing Christ

Wow!
In the last two days, I've received calls from TWO guys that I used to know when I was in the gay lifestyle. Both called to look for help in getting OUT of it. One of them met with a Christian counselor tonight and the other one is checking out the NARTH and Courage websites right now.

I also found out last year that one other guy I had dated (briefly back in 2003) has also left the gay lifestyle through an Exodus International ministry. God is AWESOME!

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Learning to (really) LOVE - a slow process for me

I got an email last week from a guy who seemed at first like he just wanted to argue with me. I ended talking with on the phone and after a few minutes I really wanted to hang up. He was throwing out arguments about "gay love" and gay-marriage etc.

In the past, I would have struggled with wanting to believe those arguments. Now, they just make me angry. I guess a lot of that anger comes from my own emotional wounding. It's difficult to separate that though and not unleash that on someone else. 


I also get frustrated because I really want to show compassion, but I also believe in Absolutes and absolute truth. It is not compassion to withhold important Truths and/or to endorse someone's destruction based on political correctness. To me, when a friend says that they are "happy" about their newest "gay relationship" it is the same as a heroin addict telling me that they are "happy" that they got their latest "fix."  What am I supposed to say? "That's great! I'm happy for you?"  I am saddened and worried for them.

I started asking him more pointed questions and guide the conversation toward his core emotions and wounds. He resisted at first, but more and more he started opening up and expressing his anger, then sadness, and grief. He was in a gay relationship that just ended last week (the day he decided to contact me). He was still holding out hope that the illusion of "gay love" was real and he seemed really angry at me for insisting that it does NOT exist and that homosexuality destroys love

I didn't let go of my position or assent to his, but I resisted the urge to argue as well. I just kept asking questions about HIM and HIS feelings and encouraged him to focus on that for now ("and we can talk about religion and politics later"). 

Without arguing, I found a few opportunities to gently point out that what I was hearing him say was that he wanted real love. He grew up in a Christian home and even briefly visited a local ex-gay ministry.

I pointed out to him that REAL love from our mutual religious background is described in 1 Corinthians 13 as:  
"patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, it is not proud. does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs,does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

I couldn't restrain myself from blurting out though that these adjectives are the POLAR opposite of every gay relationship I ever saw in 12 years. Not because the individuals were bad, but the relationship themselves were based on each person's emotional disorder. 

I prayed and fasted for him (and myself) for two days. I listened to his anger and ranting;
while praying and restraining my own reactions. I wanted to show him REAL LOVE and avoid judgement. I have no room to judge anyone. I was in the same trap for 12 years. I just want him to see the truth and avoid making the same mistakes I made. 

After two days of hearing his anger (which seemed directed at me at first, but then seemed to lessen), he went to grief and sadness. 
He texted me saying:  
"I really just need to cry." 
I called him and encouraged him to go into that grief (something he usually tries to avoid).


He seemed to get a lot better the next day. He said he has decided that he really wants his relationship to God to be more important, but said he wasn't sure if he was ready to let go of his "need" for a romantic relationship with a guy. He seemed to be really aware that his boyfriend's "love" was the polar opposite of 1 Corinthians 13

On Sunday night two JiM brothers invited me to meet them at a restaurant near here. After describing this situation to them, I texted him and invited him to join us. I had explained to him about Journey into Manhood and the groups I lead on Sunday afternoons called M.A.N.S. meetings (Masculinity, Authenticity, Need Fulfillment, and Surrender), but I think he forgot that I had said these were JiM bros.

After they left, he said it was the first time he has "felt comfortable relating to a group of straight guys.” He had no idea that they were SSA. (I thought it was funny that they jammed his Gaydar). He seemed amazed when I explained that they friends from JiM. He seems to be really grasping the concept that real change and growth is possible.

Please keep my friend in your prayers. Also, please pray that I will learn to show REAL love and compassion to others without judging them, but also being authentic with objective Truth. I still have a lot of learning and growth ahead of me before I can be a good instrument for conveying God's love.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy